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Everything You Need To Know About Retinol for Skin Care

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Retinol was first developed in the 1970s for acne treatment. As we became more familiar with it, skin care experts started to see it had a positive impact on hyperpigmentation and eliminating wrinkles. Today, retinol is an essential ingredient in skin care products.

What Exactly Is Retinol?

Retinol is made from Vitamin A. This essential vitamin is important for skin health, among other benefits such as:

  • Improved eye health
  • Better reproductive health
  • Strengthened immune system
  • Improved organ function

Retinol comes as a liquid serum, gel, or cream. You can apply it yourself to experience all its excellent health benefits, especially when it comes to skin health. It’s beneficial for your skin because it penetrates the first layers of your skin to get deeper and give lasting results.

How Does Retinol Promote Skin Health?

The main benefit of retinol is that it prevents the breakdown of collagen. When collagen breaks down, especially in your face, it can cause your skin to lose elasticity, leading to fine lines and wrinkles. 

Retinol not only prevents the breakdown of collagen but stimulates new collagen and elastin growth. It thickens the epidermis (the outermost layer of skin) through increased cell turnover. Retinol can also reduce the appearance of pimples and acne, and even reduce acne-related scarring.

Top Tips For New Retinol Users

If you’re new to retinol, there are some important tips you should know. It’s important to always consult a skin care professional if you’re looking to change your routine. 

Work Your Way Up

Start with a low dose of retinol, around 0.3-0.5%. Only use it at night and gradually increase your usage. Think about it like a pyramid:

  • Use 1 night a week for 1 week
  • Use 2 nights a week for 2 weeks
  • Use 3 nights a week for 3 weeks
  • Use 4 nights a week for 4 weeks

And gradually work your way up to using retinol every night.

Remember Your Sunscreen

If you’re exposed to the sun for too long, retinol won’t help give you the results you’re looking for. Make sure you use at least SPF-30 rated sunscreen every day in addition to your retinol and daily moisturizer. 

You can also try cutting your retinol into your nighttime moisturizer. Use half a pump of retinol and mix it into your normal moisturizer and apply it to your face.

Avoid Mixing

Avoid mixing retinol with alpha hydroxy acids and beta hydroxy acids (AHAs and BHAs). This can lead to skin irritation and redness. You may be able to use AHAs/BHAs in the morning and retinol at night, or on alternate days. If you’re planning to mix AHAs/BHAs with retinol, consult a skin care professional first. 

You should also avoid mixing retinol with vitamin C and never use it alongside benzoyl peroxide products.

Apply on Dry

Make sure your skin is completely dry before applying retinol. If your skin is too wet, it might absorb the retinol too well and could cause irritation. 

Avoid While Pregnant

Using retinol during pregnancy is not recommended. There are other skincare options for pregnant women that account for bodily and hormonal changes.

Be Patient

When you first start using retinol, you may notice some dryness, irritation, flaking, peeling, and tingling. This is common and happens because you are re-training your skin cells to regenerate faster and look tighter and more youthful. You may also experience some breakouts. 

People typically see results within 3-6 months of starting retinol, so be patient, it’s worth it!

Your Perfect Skin Care Routine

You might be wondering what your skincare routine should look like. Your skin is unique, and a skin care consult can help you unlock its true potential and help you feel younger, healthier, and even more gorgeous than you already are. 

To get you started, here is a basic skincare routine incorporating retinol.


Your morning routine should look something like this:

  • Cleanse
  • Tone
  • Eye cream
  • Vitamin C serum
  • Hyaluronic acid gel
  • Moisturize
  • Add SPF


Your evening routine, incorporating retinol, should look like:

  • Cleanse
  • Tone
  • Eye cream
  • Retinol 
  • Moisturize

Own Your Skin Health

Retinol could be an option for you if you’re looking for healthier, more youthful-looking skin. Before trying retinol on your own, consult a skin care professional. We’re highly trained to give you the ideal advice to help you reach your skin care goals. Whether it’s getting advice on your skin care routine, chemical peels, or getting a consultation on botox and dysport, we’re here to make you shine.

Written by Ally, RN, BSCN

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